Friday, February 24, 2017

2015 vintage continued

I've been to two wine tastings within seven days! These were follow-ups to the Burgundy Portfolio's big January tasting. While that one is always very exciting, there's a lot to get through and it can be overwhelming to a mere amatrice, so I was happy to get a chance to taste some of the same wines again in a more leisurely setting at the Highbury Library wine bar up near Arsenal stadium.

Last week we concentrated on whites, and I forgot to bring my camera. There were eight of us around a square table and we started with Chablis. Both growers, Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre and Céline et Frédéric Gueguen, had managed to pack plenty of acidity into their wines and the premier crus Vaulorent from Fèvre and Vaucoupin from Gueguen were showing particularly well. Premier cru level is where Chablis gets exciting, after all. The consensus was that the Fèvre wines were very elegant, and the Gueguen ones perhaps a bit richer.

Probably the highlight of the evening, however, was the white Beaune from Domaine de la Roseraie which had already impressed me back in January. This was deep and complex and will need time to open up - the drinking window is estimated as 5-15 years. Can't wait!

We also tried an amber wine, made by Pierre Fenals at Maison en Belles Lies, which we were almost forbidden to pour ourselves as it's so precious that ACC needed to keep some back to show the following day. This was made in a very traditional way in an amphora and was very interesting but probably wasted on me!

Then, on Wednesday night, it was back to the same location to try some reds. Word must have got round as this time there were 18 of us sitting around the table so it was quite a crowd.

We began with a brace of Beaujolais - the Brouilly and the Cote de Brouilly from Trichard. For my money, the Brouilly was drinking nicely now with cherry fruit, while the Cote is richer and more complex and will keep longer.

Other highlights, for me, included three wines from Domaine de la Roseraie. First we had the Bourgogne Rouge, which has already sold out, and on the evening I confidently reported that I had bought it already but now checking my trusty spreadsheet I see this is not the case! I should have done. I have however got some of the red Beaune and the Eponyme, which is only available in magnum. The Beaune is a lovely expression of the terroir with the classic perfume, elegance and length, while the Eponyme is the jewel in the crown of the domaine and had massive cheek-coating tannins, wild fruit and generally a grand cru feel to it. What's that coming over the hill? It's a monster... wine and ACC suggested it will be drinking in 7 to 20 years so we could be looking at 60th birthday celebrations rather than 50th, if I make it that far.

We also tried some wines from Microcosmos Chai Urbain, which is a very small winery in Marseilles. I drank a couple of bottles of the Marvin rose (on the left in the photo above) last year and it was wonderful in the very warm summer weather.

It's made from mourvedre, and it has a certain grapey quality and is dangerously drinkable given that it's 14.5% alcohol. I took the opportunity to grab a case. The name always makes me think of Marvin the Paranoid Android in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is no bad thing.

We also tried some reds from the same domaine and I was particularly impressed by the Tempete, which was powerful and intense with black fruits and liquorice. It turned out that this is made from syrah, which explains everything. Apparently 2015 is a great vintage for Rhone - well, this will do me nicely.

Thanks very much to ACC for a pair of fascinating tastings!

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